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  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The decision last week to lift political sanctions against Austria came as a relief to both Vienna and most of the fourteen EU member states participating in the action. Imposed in protest at the inclusion in government of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), the sanctions had rapidly became a source of difficulty and embarrassment. Crucially, nobody had been clear about what the precise aims were, or in what circumstances the sanctions would be suspended: there was no exit strategy for either side.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Austria, Vienna
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Although the transition from Nelson Mandela's to Thabo Mbeki's presidency has been marked by continued political stability and conservative economic management, Mbeki's political judgement is increasingly being questioned in several key policy areas. Unless Mbeki succeeds in allaying concerns about his leadership, the stability of South Africa's present political arrangements will be undermined.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Not all capital outflows from developing countries should be characterised as capital flight; some are simply the analogues of outward FDI and portfolio diversification in the more advanced economies. Nonetheless, a substantial proportion is classic flight capital, linked to tax evasion or criminal activity, and transferred abroad via misinvoicing and complex financial transactions. Capital flight leads to a significant loss of investment in the most affluent developing countries, and a crippling one in the poorest. However, staunching the flow is likely to prove extremely difficult. It will require greater economic stability and institutional certainty in the source countries, and more rigorous tax enforcement and cooperation in the destination states.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Government, International Trade and Finance, Third World
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Vice-President Al Gore officially accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's National Convention in Los Angeles on August 17. A continued deficit in the polls forced Gore to use the convention as a platform to consolidate his base vote. He also sought to differentiate himself from the Clinton presidency, despite the fact that he has adopted similar positions to the outgoing administration on many key issues. If Gore is to win in November, he must convince voters that the current expansion, and the benign political climate that it has fostered, would be imperilled by a Bush presidency.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The White House has loosened export restrictions in a number of high-technology sectors, setting a trend which is likely to be followed by the next administration. Tight export controls on high-tech products have become an expensive luxury that the United States can no longer afford. The liberalisation of remaining controls is therefore set to continue, whatever the partisan composition of the next Congress and the next administration.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The recent increase in arrests on espionage charges and expansion of activity by Russia's security and intelligence agencies appears to be signalling a reversion to aggressive Cold War tactics. They are seeking to increase their political influence and appear to be testing the limits of the 'civilised' intelligence competition which has evolved in the last decade. While Moscow has the means and apparent will to intensify intelligence competition, its clumsy and outdated methods threaten the country's commercial interests and could harm broader foreign policy goals.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: An analysis of Texas Governor George Bush's record as a modest tax cutter and education policy activist suggests that these issues would probably shape his policy preferences if he were elected president. A Bush White House would probably settle for smaller tax cuts than those the governor is currently proposing. It would also be likely to focus on achieving a series of moderately conservative education and crime reforms.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: United Nations peacekeeping forces are expected to deploy to the Lebanese-Israeli international border soon. Considerable diplomatic efforts have been required to win 'acceptance' of the border by Beirut and Tel Aviv, and thereby enable UN deployment to the area from which Israel withdrew nearly two months ago. The United Nations is likely to find it even more difficult to implement the other terms of its mandate.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Official attention has shifted from the need to avert recession towards the problems of managing growth. There is some evidence that higher interest rates have begun to slow the expansion to a more sustainable pace in the Anglo-Saxon economies, but it remains unclear whether the principal central banks have done enough to bring demand growth back into line with sustainable increases in supply. The markets expect any further tightening to be limited, but the current position of the monetary authorities should probably be characterised as a pause in the tightening cycle, rather than the peak.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the initial burst of euphoria that has accompanied the end of virtual one-party rule in Mexico, the magnitude of the challenge facing the incoming government is in danger of being overlooked. For those concerned with furthering democracy, it is enough that former Coca-Cola executive Vicente Fox will become the country's first president from outside the Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI) in more than seven decades. Investors, who sent the peso and the Mexico City bourse soaring after Sunday's election, are just happy that a clear winner emerged and that the feared collapse of governability has apparently been avoided.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: North America, Mexico